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There was a time when a channel partner was as good as his or her handshake. Before IT vendors started requiring justification for every single dollar invested in the channel, it was assumed that vendors and partners alike would operate in a fashion that was beneficial to their mutual self-interest.

D-Link has launched a revamp to the D-Link Value in Partnership+ channel program that harkens back to those more trusting channel days of the past.

Mike Hardy, president of D-Link USA, said every partner—regardless of their status in the D-Link program—that agrees to lead with D-Link products will be guaranteed 24 points of margin. He said D-Link’s deal registration program will enable the company to determine which partners are leading with D-Link, without imposing a lot of overhead on the partner to prove it. About the only formal audit D-Link plans to implement, Hardy added, is to occasionally make sure that margins are being fully passed through to the partner, rather than being held back for some reason by a distributor.

In addition, D-Link announced that it will provide partners with a 5 percent upfront discount on any business solutions products purchased for government, education and nonprofit customers.

As part of this effort, D-Link has also added a Copper entry-level designation, which allows partners to participate in dedicated account management, product roadmap briefings and additional upfront discounts at time of purchase. There’s also a D-Link Certification Program, which was created to provide partners with relevant sales and technical knowledge, especially in market categories that D-Link just entered, such as bare-metal switches.

Hardy said the company will also be making additional investments in lead generation on behalf of partners. At present, D-Link is generating more than 150 leads per month on behalf of partners, he reported.

At the end of the day, Hardy said, working with channel partners is a matter of trust. Having massive numbers of forms and processes that require partners to dedicate staff in order to participate in a program wind up being counterproductive. Partners would rather focus their limited resources on making the next sale than on figuring out how to maximize any additional rewards they might be qualified to receive.

The onus for rewarding the partner needs to be on the vendor. Otherwise, the channel partner’s level of participation in that program is going to be minimal at best.